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  • Tolerance and the Church of Oneism
  • Tolerance and the Church of Oneism

    Posted in
    November 26, 2018

    Modern secularist Oneism is a church without walls. Secularism may not have a formalized creed or confession, a ritualized liturgy, or religious ceremonies, but it has an undeniably religious flavor. It reduces everything to the material and clings to this metaphysical claim with religious devotion. We must reject the lie that secularism is neutral and that Christianity must prove itself in the eyes of a rationally detached and disinterested secular point of view. Christianity and all its contenders (all of which reduce to Oneism) must equally answer the “tough questions.”

    Oneism and Twoism function in parallel ways, although in diametrically opposite directions. Both cling to claims about the nature of ultimate reality, the socially formative power of those claims, and the desire to see those claims adopted in the hearts of others. Despite their counterclaims, Oneists inconsistently believe in absolute truth—the “truth” that all is one! Highlighting this fact can help us to bridge gaps with those who are steeped in secularism and believe their outlook is utterly unlike that of biblical Christianity.

    The Church of Oneism

    Oneism rejects the biblical Creator/creature distinction and all its biblically-grounded implications. Biblical Twoism teaches that God is radically different from his creation, much as a painter is distinct from his painting. God designs finite creation to reflect the unity-in-plurality he himself enjoys in his Trinitarian being. Oneism rejects the lordship of God and therefore collapses those creational distinctions or counterfeits them in God-dishonoring and humanity-destroying ways. The unbelief of Oneism cannot escape our knowledge of God, so, as Paul so brilliant clarifies in Romans 1:18, we hold down the truth in unrighteousness. We exchange The Truth for The Lie.

    Clergy

    The Oneist church without walls has its clerics, those with the cultural capital to define terms and set the agenda. They are the pundits, gurus, and figureheads of the movement. Newspaper editors, talk show hosts, politicians, and late-night comedians can all function in this role.  They establish the ever-moving target of Oneist “orthodoxy,” those affirmations which are approved and promoted as being on “the right side of history.”

    Orthodoxy and Heresy

    The Truth says that God is the creator of all things and rules the universe with wisdom, justice, and power. The Lie says that the meaning of creation lies within itself, and that apart from it there is no explanation or purpose. Though the Lie comes in a multitude of forms, it is always pro-autonomy (being a law unto oneself) and its single work is to oppose the ultimate lordship of one true and Living God. This “orthodoxy” rejects the notion that there is an order to reality that is not defined by humanity itself. This has produced great pastoral and theological challenges, such as transgenderism, and the emerging danger of transability (healthy, whole people who identify has physically impaired). The great creedal confession of our day is “You do you.”

    Violating this mantra puts you outside of “orthodoxy” and on the path to “heresy.” The great truth of the Oneist church is that its notion of truth, goodness, and beauty cannot be violated, and reality must be redefined in light of such cosmic rebranding.  A few years ago world famous retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.” He doubled-down with, “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.”[1] Of course we must detest attacks and threats against homosexuals. Tutu is naturally empathetic, because his daughter is a homosexual.[2] However, Tutu defines an acceptable God as one that approves what the biblical God explicitly rejects (1 Cor. 6:9).

    Oneism doesn’t hesitate to shame and publicly condemn as heretical those whose beliefs  oppose its claims. Last year, the mega-corporation Google fired software engineer James Damore for suggesting that “at least some of the male-female disparity in tech” had roots not simply in sex discrimination, but also in “biological differences.”[3] Dissent will not be tolerated. Threats to orthodoxy must be smoked out, made to look cruel and uncaring, and purged from society.

    Church Discipline

    Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai denounced Damore’s remark, as out of bounds and disciplined his employee by “excommunicating” (firing) him from Google. As Pichai saw it, Damore crossed “the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”[4] The fired outcast writes, “For many, including myself, working at Google is a major part of their identity, almost like a cult with its own leaders and saints, all believed to righteously uphold the sacred motto of ‘Don’t be evil.’” Damore even uses religious language to capture his experience: “I committed heresy against the Google creed by stating that not all disparities between men and women that we see in the world are the result of discriminatory treatment.”[5] This kind of equality he refers to as the diversity creed, “that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and all people are inherently the same.” Difference is done away with. All is one.

    Last year, the world famous atheist Richard Dawkins was disinvited to speak at an event hosted by Berkeley’s KPFA Radio. The action seems like the discipline of a wayward member of the flock. Dawkins’s disinvite was occasioned by previous statements made about Islam. According to its Twitter announcement, “KPFA exercises its free speech right not to participate with anyone who uses hateful language against a community already under attack.” Many believe the “hateful” language is Dawkins 2013 Twitter post, “Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today.” According to conservative columnist Rod Dreher, “Richard Dawkins Now a Heretic to Progressives.”[6] Why? Because he challenged the established orthodoxy of Oneism, which is, “Thou shalt not make moral judgments against any religious faith (other than historic Christianity)”.

    Oneist Despotism and Twoist Tolerance

    The Church of Oneism is totalitarian and tolerates no rivals. For this reason, Oneism sees the public affirmation of historic Christian sexual ethics as insufferable. Twoism heralds the goodness of sexual difference, complementarity, and gender. The Oneist sexual ethic is likewise a robust theological affirmation, one which states that reality is fundamentally about sameness and that difference must be stamped out or denied. Oneism implies, nay, proclaims, that the deepest unions are formed by doing away with distinctions and that all differences. Twoism offers unity and communion. Oneism offers homogeneity and uniformity.

    This theological commitment to sameness-at-all-costs lies behind the great bait and switch of contemporary calls for “tolerance.” D. A. Carson, in his book The Intolerance of Tolerance, clearly examines the switch:

    Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines “to tolerate”] as “1. to allow; permit; not interfere with. 2. to recognize and respect (others’ beliefs, practices, etc.) without necessarily agreeing or sympathizing. 3 . to put up with; to bear; as, he tolerates his brother-in-law. 4. in medicine, to have tolerance for (a specified drug, etc.).” Even the computer-based dictionary Encarta includes in its list “ACCEPT EXISTENCE OF DIFFERENT VIEWS to recognize other people’s right to have different beliefs or practices without an attempt to suppress them.” So far so good: all these definitions are on the same page. When we turn to Encarta’s treatment of the corresponding noun “tolerance,” however, a subtle change appears: “1. ACCEPTANCE OF DIFFERENT VIEWS the accepting of the differing views of other people, e.g., in religious or political matters, and fairness toward the people who hold these different views.”[7]

    But now, Carson observes, the word has changed meaning. It has shifted from “‘accepting the existence of different views’ to ‘acceptance of different views,’ from recognizing other people’s right to have different beliefs or practices to accepting the differing views of other people.”[8] Anyone who refuses to accept all views, no matter how contradictory they may be, is dismissed and ridiculed as “intolerant.” Oneism presents itself as the great way-paver for peace and tolerance, but its worldview cannot sustain it. Those who dissent are holding back social and spiritual evolution and must, therefore, be silenced. Oneism (consistently) must eliminate disagreement.  As G. K. Chesterton so brilliantly put it, “Exactly in proportion as you turn monotheism into monism you turn it into despotism.”[9]

    The great irony is that the Twoism of Christianity, the very thing painted as a form of close-minded bigotry, affirms God-given distinctions without the impulse to silence non-Christian dissenters. God’s truth can stand attacks of dissenters. His people do not need to be insecure that objections will expose weaknesses in God’s wisdom. It is Oneism that has good reason to worry that exposure will unveil its weaknesses. So it seeks to “punish the wicked”[10] (those who will not walk lockstep with the agenda). Biblical Twoism provides a foundation for Ultimately grounded in the interpersonal love of the triune persons of the godhead, Twoism supports peaceful diversity. We love, pray for, extend compassion to, seek to persuade, and share the gospel with our non-Christian neighbors. We don’t bully, fire, or shun them.

    Oneism presents us with a cosmology of ultimate Oneness. Those who will not get with the program are impeding the inevitable. Like the hive-minded Borg of Star Trek (Next Generation), resistance is futile and assimilation imperative. On the other hand, biblical Twoism affirms distinctions and difference.

    Precisely because the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ values human image-bearers (not the flatness of “all is one”) it can do what the Church of Oneism cannot: genuinely tolerate difference and diversity. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18).

    [1] See “Archbishop Tutu ‘would not worship a homophobic God’,” found at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-23464694.

    [2]  “Desmond Tutu’s daughter leaves clergy after marrying female partner,” found at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/24/desmond-tutus-daughter-leaves-clergy-after-marrying-female-partner.

    [3] James Damore, “Why I Was Fired by Google,” found at https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-i-was-fired-by-google-1502481290.

    [4] Mahita Gajanan, “Read Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s “Letter About the Controversial Anti-Diversity Memo,” found online at fortune.com/2017/08/08/google-anti-diversity-memo-sundar-pichai-letter/

    [5] Damore, “Why I Was Fired by Google.” According to Damore, in his ten-page internal memo he likewise thought that “bias against women was a factor too.”

    [6] See his short piece at https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/richard-dawkins-heretic-berkeley-progressives/

    [7] D. A. Carson. The Intolerance of Tolerance (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012), 2-3. Emphasis in original.

    [8] Carson. The Intolerance of Tolerance, 3.

    [9] G. K. Chesterton, The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, Volume 2 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), 373.

    [10] https://www.dailysignal.com/2018/04/25/lgbt-megadonor-who-wants-to-punish-the-wicked-pushes-new-pennsylvania-bill/